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Adder Bite - Victorian Medicine

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Adder Bite - Victorian Health and Medicine

From 'The Dictionary of Daily Wants' - 1858-1859

ADDER-BITE. The remedy for this is to bathe the bitten part with a strong solution of ammonia, or chloride of lime, until pain and smarting are felt.

But if the bite is of an aggravated description, it should first be well washed with water of ammonia, and afterwards thoroughly seared with lunar caustic; and when there is reason to apprehend greater danger still, the surface of the wound, both external and internal, should be removed with the knife.


The poison of venomous reptiles is introduced into the system by means of absorption, and when the poison, has been once received, active measures should be resorted to, to prevent its communication to the system generally, and this may be effected by placing a ligature or bandage upon the limb immediately above the wound.

It is of the greatest importance to know that the poison of adders is communicable by absorption only; if, therefore, the person who is bitten, or any one who happens to be present, should possess the presence of mind to immediately suck the wound, the poison, or at least a greater portion of it, might be withdrawn without incurring any dangerous consequences.

In India a favourite remedy for the bite of reptiles is to drink a bottle of Madeira wine in two doses, about three minutes apart, the effect of winch is to impede absorption.

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